For six seasons, Rick Dale was the main star of the reality-television show “American Restoration” aired on History Channel. His daily activities in his antique restoration shop were the main focus of the show, as he along with his family and team restored a wide variety of vintage items to their former glory. However, in 2014 the show was canceled, with no official explanation given by its producers. It was rebooted after two years, but with a new cast featuring a new restoration shop. This led to much speculating on what happened to Rick, including serious health issues, internal feuds, family problems, and producing his own TV show.
- 1 Rick Dale’s early life
- 2 How he started Rick’s Restorations
- 3 How did Rick become a reality-TV star?
- 4 “American Restorations,” the Reality-TV series
- 5 The cancellation of “American Restorations”
- 6 Some reasons why Rick’s crew won’t be back on “American Restoration”
- 7 Where is Rick right now?
Rick Dale’s early life
Rick is an American, born on 13 December 1970, in Newport Beach, California; his family later moved to Boulder City, Nevada. They didn’t have much money when he was growing up, and when he was nine years old, his father began teaching him how to restore things.
It started with an old, dilapidated bicycle that his father challenged him and his brother Ron, to bring back to life. Rick not only loved the result but he also enjoyed the whole restoration process. He distinctly remembered what his father said that day, ‘I’m not going to buy you a bike like Billy’s down the street. If you want to fully appreciate something, you have to build it yourself.’
The Dale brothers have since then shared their father’s fascination in rehabilitating old pieces. When Rick was 13 years old, his father entered him in a local soapbox derby program, and introduced him to fiberglass along with a soapbox derby kit. Rick then built his own cars, and won a few soapbox derby race championships. He’s said that he wasn’t the greatest, but he devoted much time to learning how to build them. After that, he moved to motorcycles, which he loved tearing apart and rebuilding.
How he started Rick’s Restorations
He matriculated from a local high school in Boulder, but never went to college. Rick instead tried out different things until he became involved in construction, which apparently thrived until 1983, when the business went down. He needed to make money and someone told him that people in California, particularly those who frequent the Flea Market in Pasadena would be interested in the old soda pop machine in his backyard if he could fix it. He restored it, and true enough, when he took it to California, it sold for three times the amount he invested on its restoration.
After learning how much money he could earn fixing those things, he bought all the old Coke machines and other vintage pieces as he traveled around the country. Over the years, Rick met people who wanted to sell their vintage items, and he would fix them up then sell them to interested buyers.
He became some sort of the middle man in the process of helping owners restore their old pieces. It went on for over 10 years, during which he depended largely on comments on Yelp and other social media platforms to promote his shop.
Rick established a steady business, until his marriage broke down and he closed his shop. He felt the need for a lifestyle change, and so he bought a horse property where he restarted his business by displaying his restored pieces in front of his new home. Money was tight and the business wasn’t doing well, which led him to the point of giving it all up. He thought that he was finished with the restoration business until he met his second wife, Kelly. She told him that he should continue with his restoration work, and leave the marketing to her, since it was her specialization – it worked and the business boomed.
How did Rick become a reality-TV star?
When Rick’s business became successful, he became regarded as one of the experts in the industry.
He was then invited to participate as a consultant in some episodes which dealt with the restoration of vintage pieces, in the reality-TV show “Pawn Stars.” The TV producers then thought of having Rick star in his own reality show, the spin-off series “American Restoration.”
“American Restorations,” the Reality-TV series
Initially, Rick was apprehensive about starting a reality show, because a season consisted of about 26 episodes, and he felt that he wouldn’t know how to proceed after restoring around five items. The idea overwhelmed him at first, but he eventually agreed to do the show, and it premiered on 6 June 2012. For six seasons, he and his team restored a diverse range of antiquities. There was even a time when the show was considered a part automobile restoration show, as they also handled various makes of classic cars and motorcycles.
His business staff consisted of mostly family members, including his wife Kelly, who was head of business operations; his brother, Ron, who worked as a picker; his son, Tyler, who was the shop’s foreman; and his stepson, Brettly, who worked as a picker and salesman. His daughter, Ally acted as the office manager, while his niece, Michelle, was in-charge of the shop’s merchandise. His creative team consisted of experts such as Kevin Lowery, also known as Kowboy, a metal polisher and woodworker; Ted Hague, their go-to lettering artist; Kyle Astorga, a master assembler and fabricator; and a bunch of other guys who did odd jobs in the shop.
Rick had a difficult time filming at home, as it certainly wasn’t built for TV production. When his TV show started to become popular, some people would even invade their privacy, showing up in their house unannounced at any given time of the day.
It also didn’t help that their working schedule was disrupted, when the TV crew asked for his team to stop doing other things while they filmed people talking to get a clearer audio recording. It was for this reason that Rick and Kelly opened up a shop on Commerce Street, set up to accommodate a film crew who could easily cover their everyday activities without disrupting their work. It also gave the family a sense of privacy, as there were no more incidents of fans jumping over their fence just to take a peek at what they did at home.
The cancellation of “American Restorations”
The TV show was doing well, and became one of the most-watched on History Channel, so it was a shock to the fans when it was announced that it wouldn’t return for a seventh season. Several theories about the reason why it was axed surfaced online. Like most TV cancellations, producers didn’t offer any official explanation as to why the show ended unceremoniously.
Basically, the top reason for any TV show cancellation was because of low ratings, which would mean low advertising revenue. However, “American Restorations,” wasn’t doing badly enough to warrant a cancellation, so tongues wagged, with most speculating that there was internal feud within the production people, Rick had health issues, or they were having marital problems.
In 2016, two years after its cancellation, the TV show was rebooted by History Channel, but this time it featured five different restoration shops and a different cast. It didn’t take long before fans heard from Rick again, as he posted an emotional video, not really explaining what had happened, but clearly hurt and displeased by it. He thanked everyone who sent messages of support on Facebook, and before ending the short video, he encouraged his fans to leave their complaints to the official “American Restoration” page on the History Channel website, saying that it was important to let everyone know what they all felt about it.
Who is watching the American Restoration marathon on HISTORY right now to catch up before ALL NEW episodes tonight at 10/9c? Tell us your favorite before/after transformation below!
While Rick’s crew was never hired again to star in the rebooted show, he felt somehow vindicated, as the show didn’t progress after one season on air. The new cast never resonated with the fans of the original show, failed to achieve the TV ratings the producers were hoping for, thus no new episodes were ordered.
Some reasons why Rick’s crew won’t be back on “American Restoration”
There were reports that the TV producers were having a difficult time with Rick’s attitude, and that it was no longer desirable to continue working with him. Since no official words were given by the producers, it would be best to take all assumptions with a grain of salt.
The public tour offered by the shop was unsatisfactory
The general consensus of the fans based on online feedback about the public tour of Rick’s shop was that it was bad. Fans thought that Rick overcharged the tour with outrageous fees, especially considering that the tour was short. There were two types of tour offered to the public:
For the five-dollar 10-minute tour, fans could only peek in the windows with no interaction with the cast, and no photos allowed. They were also given little access to the gift shop. Fans thought that the $50-tour would give more access, but aside from photos being allowed and a chance to view a few restored pieces, there were no more additional perks. However, if fans gave an additional $25 in the package, they got to have a photo taken with Rick by the official photographer, but they needed to wait for it to be mailed to them.
It wasn’t clear if the TV producers were involved in the tour, or if they received a percentage of the takings. It was rumored that the negative reviews reached the ears of the TV executives, and they were worried about its impact on the show itself.
Complaints about shoddy and unfinished restoration work
It was quite unfortunate that there were allegations that Rick had a habit of overcharging his clients with unfinished work.
For instance, there was a report that an 85-year old man by the name of Angel Delgadillo hired Rick’s services, and even let his show, “American Restoration” film in his own memorabilia shop, to let Rick repair a vintage jukebox. They came to an agreement that Angel would pay Rick $4000 to have it restored to its original condition. However, when Angel received the jukebox, it wasn’t repaired. On the outside, it was cleaned and polished but it wasn’t working. The problem was that Rick had already cashed the check and Angel had a hard time reaching him for an explanation. It was only when the story became viral that Rick took the appropriate action, and had it repaired without additional expense.
While Rick had restored some items beautifully, viewers noticed that there were times when some of Rick’s crew were not that serious about the restoration process, and they ended up with shoddy work.
They easily spotted chipped paint on restored items, and one time when his team restored an old Go-Kart, it ended up with wobbly tires because they weren’t mounted properly. It was Rick’s job to ensure that the finished product was as great as he promised his clients, but it was disappointing for some viewers to see substandard results.
A failed online Change.org petition
There was a report of an alleged petition initiated by a loyal fan filed at Change.org, to put pressure on the cable channel to bring Rick’s crew back on History Channel, but unfortunately, the petition wasn’t supported by enough fans, so that it never really gained any footing. It was said that only 15 signatures were acquired for the petition, so clearly, not enough were interested in seeing them back on TV.
Where is Rick right now?
After his emotional short video was posted, no one heard from Rick again. It was probably because the Change.org petition failed miserably, and since the rebooted show with a new cast also failed to come up trumps, he finally moved on with his life.
Check out the new Kelly Sparkle Baseball Tee we now have online at www.ricksrestorations.com
While he has never taken another step to be in the spotlight again, he was still active on social media, promoting his new businesses including a custom laser-cut shop called My Best Font Forward Creations, and a custom embroidery shop featuring Kelly’s creations. His restoration website is still up and running, with all his store merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs, and fridge magnets along with some restored vintage items available for interested parties. Rick also became an author, and published the book entitled “Classic Soda Machines.”
“American Restoration” may not be on TV anymore but during Rick’s participation in its first six seasons from 2010 to 2014, the series was seen in over 87 countries, and aired over 120 episodes. According to the official TV ratings released during those times, the series had a weekly average of close to three million viewers. It was also reported that the episode entitled “Pick, Pawn, and Polish” received the highest rating ever on History Channel, as it gained over 6.5 million viewers. Rick was right after all when he said, ‘There would be only one Rick’s Restorations and that would be American Restoration.’